Postnatal depression and speaking up.

by Veronica on January 22, 2013

in Headfuck, My body is broken.

It started when I realised that I didn’t want to do anything except read. I stopped writing. I started shouting. Taking care of the baby felt like something someone else was doing; like an animatron I went through the movements, but there were cloudy panes of glass between me and everything else.

My anxiety got worse and I was checking every five minutes to make sure everyone was still breathing. Under these conditions, having a vivid imagination is a curse, not a blessing and I imagined a thousand ways in which my life could get irreparably fucked up.

I was pacing the floor with the baby tucked under my chin and I cried.

and cried

and cried

and I couldn’t stop.

And I couldn’t stop the next day, or the next, or the next.

I fantasised about running away. I didn’t want to do this anymore; be here anymore. Whose idea was it to have children, let alone three of them? It’s very easy to suffocate under the needs of others and I was drowning.

Last week, I confessed to my husband that I thought I probably had postnatal depression and that I definitely needed help. Yesterday, I saw my doctor and came home with a script for antidepressants and a small speck of hope that maybe, this would all be okay again.

It’s an interesting thing, depression. It sucks you down into the black hole, a quagmire of hopelessness and hate. The Bloggess declares that depression lies and I held onto that through the weekend, and didn’t leave, or throw coffee cups at my husband, because she’s right, depression lies and I do love this family of mine, more than words can say.

In hindsight, I probably had PND after both of my older children. I remember pacing the floor with a sleepless screaming Amy and sobbing into her head until we were both covered in snot and angst, just wanting it to be over, to be done. I remember the resentment that built up because my husband got to leave the house for work, and then got to sleep eight hours straight while I had this soul sucking black hole of need attached to my breast constantly.

Obviously things improved, and I didn’t kill Nathan, or leave, because at the end of the day, I love him.

After Isaac was born, I was too deep into the cancer journey we were on to put my own needs first. Then my grandmother died and everything went to hell and grief was killing me, but surely, it was just grief?

Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

I didn’t want to write this post. I just wanted to crawl back under my rock with a book and a packet of antidepressants and emerge in a few weeks, like a butterfly, fixed and okay again. I didn’t want to talk about it, or have it open for discussion. But life isn’t like that and depression lies.

I spent the last six months bouncing from crisis to crisis, watching my baby like she was going to die at any moment. It will fuck your head up, waiting for blood tests to tell you if your baby has a fatal disease. I was running on so much adrenaline that when it deserted me, I felt bereft and dead inside. Surely panic is a normal state of being?


Depression is a bastard thing that sneaks up on you while you’re busy with other things, until one day you look around and wonder where your happiness went.

Today might not be better than yesterday, but I’m working to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

Anne January 22, 2013 at 9:36 am

Thank you so much for sharing…sending hugs…xoxox

Kathy January 22, 2013 at 9:37 am

Oh V. After everything you’ve been put through, it is not surprising that PND has shown up to the party. With hindsight being 20/20, I now know with absolute certainty that I had the black dog on my shoulder after C was born – but it was masked my my physically health problems with my spinal injuries, and my shock and grief at my friend’s brain tumour diagnosis and rapid decline / death. Grief and physical pain both occlude and dramatically magnify depression, or they did for me, anyway.

I hope the meds give you some relief. I hope your body and heart have a chance to heal and climb up again. I hope you know we are here to hear, to hold you up, even if only via cyberspace, whenever you need it.

Alison January 22, 2013 at 9:45 am

Anything I could say about this would only touch the sides. Depression is my constant companion, has been my whole life. I fought a long time on my own, am glad you are getting help. You have been through torture lately, you and your family, so what you are experiencing is normal, if that makes sense. Part of the problem is there is no real vocabulary to talk about this lying creature called depression. I do not know how you have coped as well as you have to be honest. I hope that you will reach full mental health and never have to experience this again. As for me, I have learned to live with it, one way or another.

Zoey @ Good Googs January 22, 2013 at 9:54 am

I’m sorry you are going through this on top of everything else.

Laney | Crash Test Mummy January 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

Thank you for sharing Veronica, I know how hard it is. With everything going on in your life I’m so glad you were able to realise you needed help. Depression does lie. The fog lifts.

Jessiebean AKA Thrifty Mama January 22, 2013 at 10:14 am

Oh Veronica. I am glad you are seeking help. It’s hard. I have been flailing around in a mess of PND for a couple of months now and it just doesn’t go away without effort, it gets worse. It’s not surprising that you are suffering but I know that doesn’t make it better. I have the hindsight of previous PND as well, we are all warned about it but sometimes the onward march is inevitable and we have to hit messy, painful sobbing crisis. Stay vigilant and as lovely to yourself as you can be.
Love Jessie

Becky January 22, 2013 at 10:38 am

Crap. I had the BEST picture for you, and now I can’t find it.

Anyways, it was the saying that clicked with me, which was, “Depression is a flaw in chemistry, not character.”

I got depressed before I hd kids, sure, but it was just now and again.

As soon as I had Matty I suffered from postpartum depression. It was pretty bad. It didn’t clear up completely until I got pregnant with Sebastian (my blog was my place to whistle in the dark.)

I also got it again, REALLY bad, when I went on some milk-making pills with Sebastian – I was only pumping, due to him preferring bottles cuz of my 12 hour days, and the pumping wasn’t producing enough. They gave me some medicine, but it gave me the teensy side effect of suicidal depression. Thank heavens I noticed it after about 3 weeks (I noticed when my reaction to finding out we were going ot be able to buy a house was, “That’s nice – and oh, look. It’s 5 pm already. Only 3 more hours until I can go to bed without anyone noticing it being weird, which means it’s one more day down, which brings me one day closer to me finally being able to die, since I don’t believe in suicide.” That’s when I realized that probably wasn’t a normal reaction to buying a house, and I was able to pinpoint the issue.

All that to say —– dude. It’s chemical. It’s like a vitamin imbalance of the brain brought on by your body chemistry going through the blender of giving birth. You’re not giving in by getting pills. You’re just taking brain vitamins. If you were anemic would you consider it giving in if you were to take iron pills?

Anyways, sorry you’re going through this, but congrats on being strong enough to get some help.

Sarah @fignutmum January 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

Hugs, I too have just started back on my meds.i didn’t want to be on this roller coaster ride but it seems we don’t have a choice. Depression can affect anyone. But realising you need help is the first big step. Then you just need to take each day as it comes.
Take care of yourself , oh and vitB is helpful too

Harry D Fish January 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

You’re not alone, remember that. i had pnd with both kids, badly. i battled on not even telling my doctor what was the matter. Until one day i couldn’t do it any more. It helps to talk, and you’ve got a good support network. You know where to find me if you need to. sending positive vibes.

Kate January 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Gosh, Veronica, I’m so sorry to hear this….though it would be surprising if you didn’t feel this way after all you’ve been through. But you are so brave, remember that!! You are admitting it, facing it and getting help. You sound like a wonderful person and I wish you well.

Pixie January 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I had PND after my 2 nd daughter so I feel for you. It’s an evil disease that sneaks up on you. I’m glad you got some help.

Onwards and upwards.

Love xxxxxxxx

Sharon @ Funken Wagnel January 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I’d be really surprised if what you’ve been through didn’t result in some kind of depression. I’m sorry you’re going through it of course, though! Wishing you lots of help and support.

Jayne January 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Hugs xxx
It gets easier but take each day as it comes xxx

Mrs Woog January 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Much love to you xx

Emy January 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

You poor thing. I too had Pnd after both my kids and am now pregnant with no. 3. Medication works wonders for me. I hope the fog lifts soon!!

Jen January 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Im sorry you are having to go through this, but hopeful things can now improve, for all of you. Many hugs

Louisa January 22, 2013 at 6:08 pm

No words really except that I’m so sorry you in a bad place at the moment but thank you for speaking out. I am so glad you are able to get some support. You are an amazing Mum to your beautiful kiddos and even when you don’t feel it, it’s still true – don’t believe the lies! xx

Marylin January 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I fucking hate depression with a passion. The lies are horrid. You know I was THIS close (*holds her fingers about a cm apart*) to sending Max to live with his dad in November, I was that bad? It makes me feel ill thinking that now, but I nearly did it.
I may be rattling with pills now (anti depressants, beta blockers and vallium), but at least I feel more normal, right?
Really hope the meds don’t take too long to level out for you sweety.
Lots of love to you, as always! 🙂
*hugs* xxxxx

river January 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm

That last sentence is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Keep focused and hang in there.
But don’t forget you still need “you” time too.

cat@jugglingact January 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Drink your pills and keep the faith. Everything will be ok in the end. I know, I have been there twice (with PND) and a few times more with just the run of th emill dark wolf. Lots of love

Watershedd January 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Thinking of you, Veronica. It’s good that you recognised that you need help and have got some meds to ease the biochemical burden. Soon, you’ll be able to wake and smile at your babies and Nathan again. X

Amanda January 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Thinking of you. Sending love.

Susanne January 23, 2013 at 12:22 am

You have endured more than I think I ever could, you’re an amazingly strong woman and I’m certain you’ll come through this too. Hope you feel much better soon, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and one day you’ll come out of the other side of this. Be gentle to yourself xx

Leslie January 23, 2013 at 1:06 am

You’re not alone, Veronica. My thoughts are with you. I think sharing about it really helps.

Anne January 23, 2013 at 5:37 pm

I was diagnosed with delayed PND and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) after I had my third child and part of me was so relieved to be able to put a name to how I was feeling. The other part of me was angry at the world and my family for not understanding what I was going through (at least I thought they didn’t understand; they probably did, but anyway).

Depression is a real bastard. It never really goes away, its always lurking there in the background. I ended up having to go on medication and my life has improved enough to be able to get by every day.

Sending you lots of hugs and thinking of you.

rachael @ mogantosh January 26, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Hope the pills are kicking in a bit V. I know if can take a couple of weeks. You’ve had such a shit sandwich lately. Maybe some mood-elevating assistance will just take the edge off enough for you to keep up with all the many tasks you have ahead of you this year. You are doing such a great job with that family of yours. There’s no stop-and-rest clause in motherhood is there? It can be so fucking relentless. I’m sorry life is asking more of you than you have to give at the minute. ‘Throw another six months at it’, Elizabeth Gilbert says. Then, if things are still shit…throw another six months at it. Sending love, Rach

tiff January 27, 2013 at 6:22 pm

sending love and understanding.

I am struggling these days but it’s just your ‘garden variety from having a sick kid’ kind, I think.

Still, running is front and centre for me these days, so I get it.

Hang in there, you brave, amazing person.

victoriav January 28, 2013 at 1:37 am

cordial is a type of fruit juice right?

Beet January 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

I remember the pacing tears. Hugs. xx

Nysha January 29, 2013 at 3:48 am

{{Hugs}} As a fellow depression sufferer, I understand the feelings. Hang in there, you will reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

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